Death wish at the Star-Tribune

James Lileks is an enormously talented and prolific newspaper columnist, blogger, and author, whose day job has been as a columnist for the Star-Tribune, the largest newspaper in Minnesota.  The blogosphere is now in a justifiable uproar over the news he announced on his blog today, that the Strib has decided to re-assign him as a reporter, and is cancelling his column.

This decision is beyond idiotic. Don Surber, who combines blogging (for his newspaper, on their site) with a column in the Charleston Daily Mail, summarizes the Strib's thinking thus:

Let's see, we have to move online and attract readers by presenting interesting copy - so let's kill Lileks.
Hugh Hewitt comes up with a list of 10 employers  that could snatch away Lileks if the paper foolishly persists in sending Lileks out to do straight news reporting, which he admits he is not good at doing.

I cannot help but compare the Strib's behavior with that of the fictional newspaper Iowahawk used to encapsulate the industry's last fifty years. It is almost as if a death wish has seized the minds of those charged with saving a failing business.
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